Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Christopher Levy and Sarah Riggs-Shute.
Zero years before the Battle of Yavin (35:4:29) in the Brentaal system: Kwai and Warspite.
Liliya Benedt, Major Kerrie Kiley, Grand Moff Claudius Rodney, Inquisitor Serine Thanor, and Major Arden Zevrin.

The Lambda-class shuttle Kwai arrived in the Brentaal system bringing it with Grand Moff Claudius Rodney and his new aide. His family had taken a separate transport to the Essesia system as it was urgent that he return to his command to be briefed on all that had transpired during his absence. Privately he felt relieved that he did not yet have to introduce Liliya to his family, as having an attractive young aide always caused difficulty with the spouse. He had not had much opportunity to speak with the young woman during their hyperspace journey from Coruscant to Brentaal, as he had been working on a tactical redeployment of the Imperial forces. As a Grand Moff he now had the ability to draw in larger Imperial forces and had arranged for the transfer of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Indefatigable to assist him in the Ringali Shell.

As the shuttle arrived in the Warspite's hangar Claudius remarked to himself how smooth the landings were now that Lieutenant Trainor had been reassigned to the Inquisitor. He wondered how the woman who only too recently had strove to undo him would react to his promotion. As the ramp of the shuttle lowered, he stood up and carefully adjusted his uniform. He paid particular attention to his new rank insignia, admiring the three gold squares that adorned it. There were a number of officers aboard the ship whom he looked forward to subjugating now that his complete authority had been ratified by the Emperor. With renewed vigor, confidence, and a little pride, the middle-aged regional governor marched deliberately down the ramp of the shuttle and onto the polished deck plating of the hangar bay.

During their travel time through hyperspace, the youthful looking and newly appointed assistant to the Grand Moff made sure to give Claudius all due respect and avoid him for the duration of the flight, knowing well enough to stay clear of the important business that was now on his mind due to his sudden promotion. If it were possible for her to be excited, she would be, though she pretended to be regardless as practice. She was in the best possible situation, the right hand of the regional Governor no less! Surely she would play all of her cues correctly to keep this astonishing position, one that will no doubt allow her to gather untold amount of intelligence. Although Claudius was left alone to his work during travel, he would not be alone as he journeyed forth from the ramp as Liliya loyally traveled behind him and to the right. As she caught sight of the large welcoming committee before them, she smiled warming, eyes alight with enthusiasm and wonder, but behind that mask of gentleness was something far more devious. In-between natural looking blinks, she would scan all those before her, getting bio-sign readings immediately upon request of her databanks. There were some quite infamous attendees! This was a bit worrisome and she would have to be sure to fully convince them all that she was harmless.

Major Kerrie Kiley stood at full attention in her carefully pressed black uniform, complete with cover in front of a full honor guard of hand picked Imperial Stormtroopers. Her hands were folded behind her back and she looked sternly at Lord Rodney, without expressing any emotion. Much had transpired during his absence and she had not yet decided what she would tell him, and what she would not. As she had nearly been killed in the field by the Jedi and then later had been left for dead by the Inquisitor she felt fortunate to even be able to lay eyes upon him once again. She had reported her execution of Lord Nam`a`taht to Inquisitor Thanor in an attempt to redeem herself, but now she felt she should inform Rodney as well to continue to prove to him she still was useful and merited consideration for prime assignments. Her carefully mimicked blue eyes widened slightly as she spotted the new rank insignia. She paid meticulous attention to detail and such a dramatic change was not something that she could have ever envisioned.

Major Arden Zevrin stood to the right of Major Kiley, wondering if the Clawdite commando was now in her camp. The ambitious ISB Sector Officer was not wearing her cap, despite protocol, as she preferred her long flowing blond hair to be clearly visible to all around her. In a male dominated world it was important she maintain a strong public image. In her pocket was the holo-recording of the interrogation of Kia Kaen, her telekinetic outburst, and the actions of Serine Thanor in the aftermath. It was her plan to undermine the Inquisitor in any way possible, as she felt she should be the dominant advisor to the Admiral. However, her usually stoic expression soon went perplexed as she witnessed Rodney's new rank insignia. She had heard the Regional Governors had been given direct control over their territories, but she never suspected this man would be given the authority. She had always assumed one of the Sector Moffs would be given the responsibility, but now it seemed the Empire had different plans. This changes everything, she thought to herself as she scrambled for a new plan. Now was definitely not the right time to present him with the holo.

Those in attendance had been patiently and diligently awaiting for hours, and all those of importance even down to the lest petty officer were waiting, all except one notable occupant. Inquisitor Thanor felt it unimportant to waste her time waiting for the Admiral, thus she decided to show up just as he himself would arrive so that she could focus on far more worthy endeavors. One being her apprentice who needed near constant surveillance and another was a detailed report of all of the occurrences on Warspite and in the surrounding Ringali shell that she planned on briefing Rodney. In his absence, she was technically the highest ranked Imperial 'officer' on board and in this sector, and thus responsible for the well-being of the crew in his absence. Her abilities and training were not exactly sufficient for diplomatic missions, she also lacked some tactical prowess regarding full scale space combat, thus the Inquisitor, although ranked appropriately, was not necessarily expected to actually run the sector in the Admiral's absence, only to keep it functioning until he returned. Though her rank was much different than those of the Imperial Navy, she was more or less on equal ground to an Admiral. As the Kwai began landing procedures, Serine strolled confidently through the lower ranks that lined up in preparation for Rodney's arrival, not paying any mind as she viewed them as insignificant and more than likely incompetent and that did not change as she continued to walk through the ascending ranks. Right as the ramp descended, Serine was present at the front of the congregation. She shot Major Zevrin a disapproved and unimpressed glare as she stepped between both of the Major officers present. She was slightly less frigid toward Major Kiley, the other woman proving that she was at least capable of something more than being pathetic constantly. She regarded Kerrie silently, her expression unreadable for now, the Major not realizing the Inquisitor added her dealings in her report, but with a slight spin in Kerrie's favor. Improvements deserved to be rewarded. As Rodney first began to descend the ramp, Serine assumed a military posture with her hands clasped behind her back formally. Looking mildly bored, her attention instantly snapped towards the young woman trailing behind him and she nearly flinched, the other woman looking like she just stepped from a ritzy and wealthy party. So is this what Rodney does with his spare time? This infuriated her, the audacity, nearly incomprehensible that the Inquisitor was struggling to maintain the order from the chaos that was all around and the Admiral was busy picking up dates from the corners. She was so busy sizing up the young woman, she missed what should have been so clearly visible and obvious. She scoffed just slightly, Rodney was so worried about how he was perceived in this sector, it was her duty to point out what he may be so blind to see, finding this beyond acceptable for a man of his status. Brutally honest and blunt as always, she would speak at somewhat of a hushed tone, it was not necessary for everyone to overhear this. "She is a little young for you, Admir..." At that very moment Serine's eyes casually rolled across the new insignia upon his attire and for but a second it did not register because it was so incredibly beyond what her mind was capable of processing in just under a second. Her breath caught in her throat as she stopped in mid sentence, nearly choking as eyes widened and her mouth opened in ajar for an awkward while. This was impossible, eyes flicked across the three golden squares over and over as her mind began to race. There was only one way for him to be promoted so such a position, the Emperor himself had to christen him. She verbally gasped as that realization hit her and suddenly that uncomfortable epiphany lulled in her mind and a queasy sunken feeling began to develop in the pit of her stomach. This changed everything and that accumulation of the entirety of her thought processes was visible as she slowly glanced fully up at Grand Moff Rodney. She had to save grace now, but perhaps it was already too late. "Congratulations on your promotion... Governor Rodney." That was terribly painful to say.

Claudius felt an inner rage at the insulting accusation made by the Inquisitor regarding his relationship to his newly appointed aide. However, he took an intense satisfaction at the realization of his promotion dawned on the woman. "Thank you, Inquisitor..." he said, as he quickly turned his attention to the young woman behind her. "Allow me to present my new aide, Liliya Benedt. I am told she was the finest young diplomat on Alderaan since ... well ... me," he said, as he took her soft, demure hand into his own and ushered her forward. "Perhaps in 25 years she too will be a ... Grand Moff," he said, winking to Serine in a coy manner. He was being very bold, but of course that was now his privilege as one of the Emperor's newly empowered regional governors. "By now I am sure you have heard that the Imperial Senate has been disbanded and the regional governors have been given direct control over their territories," he explained, not only speaking to Serine, but also to all who had gathered in the hangar bay. "I have been appointed by the Emperor to command the newly designated Ringali Shell Oversector. I have also secured us much needed reinforcements. I assure you all ... things will change!" he concluded, firmly, eyes moving from the Inquisitor to Zevrin, Kiley, and the others.

Major Zevrin snickered audibly as she overhead the Inquisitor's blunder. How could someone all powerful and all knowing miss the distinguished new rank insignia of a Grand Moff. Perhaps she would not need to play any role in the woman's downfall. The news, however, that Governor Rodny had a new aide ... and an attractive one at that ... did no sit well with her. She brought her left hand up to the side of her head and uncomfortably thrust her hair backwards. She would need to contact the ISB for a dossier on the young woman. Unfortunately for her, however, the Death Star was moments away from obliterating Alderaan and with it all traces of the woman's identity, background, and mission.

Major Kiley felt slightly insulted at he appointment of an aide to the newly promoted Grand Moff. She had been his faithful adjutant for nearly two years and perhaps this signalled a lack of confidence that he had in her. Gloves hands nervously rubbed against one another as her blue eyes looked over the woman. She was strikingly beautiful and the clothes she wore flattered her petite figure. Was she a threat? Only time would tell. However, she did not like competition and there were already enough women surrounding the Grand Moff to complicate things as it was.

Liliya graciously allowed Claudius to take hold of her hand and guide her down the ramp, as if displayed as he spoke so very kind of her. And even though she seemed completely enveloped by the Governor's attention, she was paying unknown and unseen details to the three woman who greeted them. She knew instantly who they were, all dangerous in their own rights with reputations capable of crumbling even the most difficult of adversity, but different ways. If this was her main competition to the rights of Rodney's side, it would not be a free luxury ride in the least. There was a battle to be had here, and in that respect, Claudius was correct in his assessment of the dangers upon the Warspite, just perhaps not exactly how he intended. The man seemed to surround himself with predators of the feminine nature. Liliya was not intimidated, but she was wary as exposure was her greatest fear and if anyone was capable of finding ourt her buried secrets, it was Major Arden Zevrin, and that fact made her a bit nervous. She smiled politely to the woman before her gaze passed to Major Kerrie Kiley, another concern. This woman was used to being by Rodney's side and would not so easily allow her position to be taken from her, an infamous assassin in the past, it would be foolish to discount actions of a desperate soul. She shared yet another smile with Kerrie before she came to the last of the trio, and this one was the wild card. Unpredictable, rash and vicious, if Liliya was going to be successful in her mission, she would have to do everything she could to either stay clear of the Inquisitor or win her over, both might prove to be extremely difficult. She caught the looks from all three of them, as if picking her apart, already making a poor first impression just by association alone, that did not bode well with her but it was not a surprise either. She disregarded those estranged looked and kept her humble disposition. "A pleasure." A low gracious nod to the audience she found herself standing before.

Despite her own failures here and now that caused her to look like an idiot and completely unprepared in front of the entire congregation, she had in fact spent a great deal of time preparing a full report and was still capable of doing her assigned duties. The fact that the Admiral was now a Grand Moff did not change her opinions of the man, as she believed he was not fit to even have that rank, let alone an advancement that was unheard of. Nor had his new position changed her purpose here, though that would make it exponentially more difficult as the man did not respect her advice when they were of similar rank, he will likely completely brush her off, but that was the indignity she would have to bare...for now. His sudden arrogance was also off putting, he did not waste much time to make himself look incapable and distasteful, but she weathered it unfazed. "There has been much you have missed since your absence. I have carefully organized a full and detailed report that you may find interesting..." A short pause, she almost called him 'Admiral' by habit alone but quickly recovered to finish her sentence with dignity. "...Governor." From within one of her pouches was the datapad that contained this report, she promptly retrieved it. "If you so wish, I can give you the report in person, or you may read it at your leisure."

Claudius said nothing in reply to the Inquisitor's statement, remaining stone faced and silent as he stared at the Inquisitor. He flicked his right hand in the direction of Liliya indicating she should present the datapad to her, rather than to him. He could no longer be bothered with such things, he thought as he would play the part of Regional Governor appropriately. He turned his attention to his aide, stepping back slightly so that she could move in front of him and receive the datapad Oh how he was enjoying this. Revenge for her 'little report' she had given to Pestage.

Not even fully acquainted yet and she was already performing her duties, the Grand Moff seemed to be taking the bait perfectly, it was a huge relief, if she actually felt that emotion. But oh...he was purposely playing her against the Inquisitor and Liliya had no choice but to comply. That was a dangerous game she was not yet fully willing to tackle, but she would with a sincere smile, pleased to be so useful to the man already. This eagerness to please was very noticeable, it was an honorable quality to have, but those that had stained intentions would no doubt be overwhelmed with jealousy and perhaps hatred, but it was unavoidable, she had to keep up her innocent appearance even in the face of the three woman who will probably end up plotting against her. As requested, the Governor's personal assistant performed what was asked of her, retrieving the datapad from the Inquisitor and placing it into her pocketbook. It was apparently not as important as Serine was implying since Rodney was barely even curious of the contents. Perhaps he would read it later, but even if he did not, she certainly would.

Claudius Rodney needed to get to the bridge to order the vessel to the newly designed Oversector capitol of Esseles, where he would have the advantage of being closer to his family. "Come Liliya, I'll show you the bridge..." he said as he began to briskly walk off without so much of an acknowledgment of the others. He was a Grand Moff now after all, and they were merely junior officers who used to be important to him, but were now mere advisers who he would listen to only when he felt it appropriate.

Major Kerrie Kiley stepped forward, blocking the Grand Moff's path, in a bold move, which was unusual for her. "Milord, regarding Lord Nam'a'taht..." she began, wanting to inform him of her strike against the nobleman who had been found guilty of aiding the Rebel Alliance. However, before she could go into greater detail, she found herself interrupted by her rival, the Inquisitor.

Kerrie's bold move surprised Serine who had expected to at least get a chance to give Rodney the report, but everything seemed to be moving too quickly and not in the direction she had first thought. She sharply interrupted Major Kiley, but the woman would soon see that it was for her own benefit and would be the first time the Inquisitor has ever verbally come to her aid. "That detestable man was found guilty of aiding the Rebellion and supplying them with the necessary armaments to conduct the full-fledged offensive against the Warspite. Taking the initiative as afforded to me by your absence, I ordered Major Kiley to assassinate him and purge this stain." She proudly admitted, though it be a lie, it was extremely convincing and something she probably would have done herself if Kerrie did not beat her to it.

Claudius nodded his head in approval at what Inquisitor Thanor had reported. "Good. One less problem to worry about," he said optimistically as a smile curled upon his lips. "I'm glad to see you two got along while I was away. I worried one of you might have tried to kill the other..." he said jokingly, not realizing that such a thing very nearly happened. And with that, he once more attempted to navigate his way through the sea of officers so that he could issue their new deployment orders.

Major Kiley was surprised by Serine's interruption and the words she had spoke. She had acted on her own initiative, and was quite proud of such. However, now was not the time to correct the woman as the Grand Moff seemed quite preoccupied. It was true that Kerrie had acted on her own accord, and that the woman's statement might have justified her actions ... but she was only a brash and unthinking creature and logic rarely preceded her actions. Had Inquisitor Thanor not intervened, it was possible Kerrie might have faced severe disciplinary action for her independent thinking.

Major Arden Zevrin smiled as she listened to Grand Moff's words. She had remained silent throughout his arrival ceremony, as sometimes it was better to remain in the background and listen, rather than speak. She could not help but enjoy the fact that the Inquisitor 'had' attempted to kill Major Kiley during his absence. Her hand slipped into the pocket that contained the holo-recording and she loving stroked it as her tongue flicked between her lips like a serpent. A valuable chip in the game of Sabacc they were all playing. When the time was right, she would be sure to hold the winning hand.

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